How do you define LEADER?

How many times have you given or participated in a training that gets derailed partway through because of a sudden debate among the class regarding definitions? “To me that’s not what a leader is.” “I don’t really look at customer service in that way.” All you can think is “let’s get this back on track, I have things to do.”
Maybe a better approach for a trainer is to open with an exercise that initiates a discussion of terms intrinsic to the course. You can use this discussion to introduce the definitions you will be using for these terms; ergo, the training never gets derailed over definitions.

Following, are some examples:
Leader. It’s astounding how many leadership training and development programs never bother to define leader. The “experts” differ on its meaning. Peter Drucker defined a leader as “Someone who has followers,” while John Maxwell says, “Leadership is influence — nothing more — nothing less.” The dictionary defines leader as “One who is in charge or command of others.” Man, it’s easy to have a debate over “leader” with all these definitions flying around! I have been to leadership groups that begin by asking participants to name people they deem leaders and list the traits they believe make these people leaders in a table. We land on the definition of leader as “Someone who gets others to do what’s best for their team.”

Here are some key definitions that come up in leadership meetings:
Manager – Someone responsible for a team’s productivity.
Good Employee – An employee who does what’s best for his or her team.
Customer Service – Doing what’s best for the customer.
Remember to ALWAYS define key terms at the onset of your trainings and materials–it goes a long way to maintaining control, as well as clarifying the goals of the training as well as culture. Keep your definitions SIMPLE and AIRTIGHT–they must be applicable in any scenario.

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